Former McLaren driver David Coulthard has warned that the team’s new wind tunnel in the works is not going to “sort all their problems”.
In fact, having moved to Red Bull after leaving the Woking-based outfit, he pointed out that the wind tunnel the current World Champions use was manufactured in the 1960s – so the modernity of equipment, while it can be helpful, is no guarantee of success in Formula 1.
McLaren are currently undergoing infrastructure upgrades at their base that include a new wind tunnel, which is due to open next year, with the team looking to find a way out of Formula 1’s midfield after one victory in a decade.
When discussing how others will have been keeping a keen eye on Red Bull after Sergio Perez’s car was held aloft in Monaco in May, the 13-time race winner believes that there is more to winning than just having up-to-date equipment.
“I think what they’ll have learned as the sophistication of the aero development that’s on their car,” Coulthard said on Channel 4 when asked what impact seeing the floor of the RB19 will have had on other teams.
“A lot of teams talk about bringing in new wind tunnels, I think McLaren are saying ‘well, the new wind tunnel is going to sort all their problems’, well, Red Bull use a wind tunnel from the 60s.
“So it’s not just how new your wind tunnel is, it’s about how predictable and repeatable the information is that gives them such an aero efficient car.”
A key statement signing McLaren have made will be Rob Marshall, Red Bull’s chief engineering officer, who will join the team in 2024 as their new technical director of engineering and design.
Marshall will be a vital cog of the team’s operation moving forward, and the shower of praise around his signing has been a key indicator of how highly his regard is held in the Formula 1 paddock – to which Mark Webber can also attest.
“We both know Rob well, great character, great engineer, a great designer,” Webber added.
“A lot of good ideas he brought to Fernando’s World Championship operations when he was at Renault and also at Red Bull, you know, we enjoyed a great relationship with him.
“So that’s going to be a pretty handy signing for McLaren, I think, in terms of ideas and progress of how the new regulations, which we’re still learning a lot about, could intersect into McLaren’s operation.”